"Well, now we know what we're up against."
Thus Nancy, as she, Topaz, Copper and Sylva gathered in the front room, to await their visitors. "What did everyone else make of the girls last night?"
"I don't know about anyone else, but I liked them." Sylva admitted. "I feel really guilty that I did, too, but they seemed really nice."
"Don't feel guilty." Topaz chided her. "I don't mind, you know. You're entitled to like them - in fact I'd much rather you did."
"Latisha seemed a sweetheart." Copper reflected. "Bryony was kinda shy to begin with, I thought, but she was kinda nice once we got her talking. Casey..."
"Casey was a big mouthed flirt. She reminded me of Syl, and I didn't think two such people could exist." Nancy said bluntly. Sylva scowled.
"She was okay." She retorted. "At least she held a conversation!"
"She was flirting with Aaron." Copper mused.
"Well, so? I flirt with Aaron sometimes." Sylva shrugged. "It doesn't mean that we're having an illicit affair."
"No, true, and I didn't feel threatened by it in the least." Copper acknowledged. "She was very sweet about my engagement, too, so I think she was just being friendly."
"The thing is, Syl, if you flirt with Aaron, everyone knows that you're just playing, because you're like brother and sister." Topaz remarked. "You and he are just friends, nothing else, and noone doubts that."
"Strange girls flirt with Aaron a lot." Nancy observed. "He seems to have that effect on women."
"Well, so long as he doesn't let them have that effect on him, I'm fine with it." Copper laughed. "I'm not gonna hold a little flirting against the girl, though. I think she was nervous."
"She was a bit off about Zoe." Nancy pointed out.
"Not really." Sylva shook her head. "Just curious, that's all."
"She more or less asked us if it was weird having a lesbian doing our music videos." Nancy replied bluntly. "That's not curiosity, Syl."
"Oh, quit trying to pick flaws! If Zoe had been there she wouldn't have taken it as an insult, it was just a question." Sylva looked impatient. "Besides, with all the speculation in the press, I suppose it wasn't a surprise one of them asked us about her. And if you want to go down that line, Nancy, what about Latisha talking about family connections in the business, huh?"
"That was different. I knew she wasn't trying to imply that I got my job because of Mom, she was just observing how connections help." Nancy snapped back. Topaz laughed, putting up her hands.
"Time out!" She exclaimed. "You girls have to agree on this, you know!"
"I think it's too soon to decide anything yet." Copper mused. "They all seemed very nice and friendly, Topaz, and well, you'll meet them this afternoon, so you can see what they're like for yourself."
"You know, something occured to me last night, when we were driving home." Nancy reflected. "Adopting a new Jewel is going to be just as difficult for us as it was for the Holograms to enlist your mother, Copper. Like them, we have the problem of Synergy."
"I thought of that too." Copper owned. "But that's why I think we need to get to know the girls really well first. And if the worst comes to it, we can always lock the basement and tell them we don't have a key. Cynthia can operate freely through her watch, she doesn't need to physically interface with the mainframe. I think it's less difficult than the problem the Holograms faced. And don't forget, twelve foster girls lived in this house alongside the band, and none of them ever knew Synergy was there."
"That's true." Sylva nodded. "I always wondered how they could miss her. I mean, big purple computer - not exactly discreet."
"But I am a holographic simulator, Sylvina." At that moment Cynthia's voice interrupted the conversation and the girls turned to see the hologram entering, taking a seat and idly flicking through the day's newspapers. "I am perfectly capable of blending in. Besides, I was concealed behind a holographic wall. No idiot would try and walk through what they perceive as plaster or cement. My secret was well kept."
"Until my brother proved he was one such idiot?" Nancy asked. Cynthia laughed.
"I am much indebted to that particular moment of idiocy." She admitted. "I understand your fears regarding my safety, Nancy, but I have survived these things before. I saw through the Public Eye fiasco and survived, and the Jem Memorial, I evaded discovery at that, too. I believe that, if a new Jewel joins the group, I will be more than capable of concealing the truth about my identity until I know if I can trust them." She dimpled. "Don't forget, I was Cynthia for some months before you and Sylva knew where I came from, and before Topaz even knew I was there."
"Yeah, I think you'll be all right." Topaz nodded. "Cyn, you went last night. What did you make of the three girls? These guys have me curious."
"They seemed pleasant enough." Cynthia pursed her lips. "More I cannot say. I do not know enough on any of them yet. I put the names through my data files and hunted on the internet for Pizzazz, and all three are what they say they are, plus talented into the bargain. The decision is really down to you girls. Not me."
"Speaking of secrets, what about Sadie? Does she know we have guests this afternoon?" Copper asked. Topaz nodded.
"Yes. I think she's sleeping, actually." She replied. "She promised to keep quiet, though. She knows that it's important noone knows about her till I can figure out some way to make her legal without a scandal arising."
"I spoke to her this morning, she's certainly better than she was last night." Copper observed. "Which I was glad to see. She was so wheezy and hot before."
"Yeah, well I think knowing she's safe and having a good night's sleep has helped." Topaz responded. "And I think that I just heard a motor, so unless I'm much mistaken, our guests have arrived."
"Then I shall excuse myself." Cynthia got to her feet.
"You're not staying?" Sylva stared at her. Cynthia shook her head.
"I think this meeting needs to be Jewel and the hopefuls, without interference from entertainment synthesisers." She said dryly. "I shall shut down Cynthia's hologram and run scan disk, that will keep me occupied. Have fun, won't you!"
With that she was gone and, as the doorbell rang, Nancy headed out into the hall, swinging open the door and ushering the trio in.
"Welcome to the Starlight." She remarked as she did so. "I'd say I'm glad you found us, but I don't think you can miss the place. It's rather distinctive."
"I've not been here before." Bryony gazed around her. "In this part of Los Angeles, I mean. It's such a beautiful house, Nancy. You girls are lucky as heck to live here."
"Well, whoever becomes the new Jewel will be moving in here." Copper told them as the four girls entered the lounge. "Hi, girls. Welcome!" She indicated Topaz. "And I guess I ought to introduce you to our elusive fourth! Topaz, these are Bryony, Casey and Latisha."
"Nice to meet you guys at last." Topaz's blue eyes twinkled. "I apologise for last night, there really wasn't much I could do."
"It's all right." Casey flashed her a smile. "You must have a whole lot of things to get ready, with the baby and everything. I heard your interview on KBST and I was so stoked for you - you sounded so thrilled about it."
"I am." Topaz nodded her head. "It's not all roses, but you know, I'm very excited." She grinned. "And that's why you three are here, of course. I understand that you're all much more proficient bass guitarists than I've ever been - no doubt that will be a big relief for Nancy's composition!"
"I taught Topaz bass." She explained to the non-plussed visitors. "We kinda have a standing joke about it. Topaz is the best singer in California at the minute, but where bass guitar is concerned..."
"I muddle through." Topaz finished good-naturedly. Latisha smiled.
"I think you must muddle through pretty well, then." She admitted. "When we were at Misfit Music, we were given a few Jewel scripts to play over when we auditioned, and stuff. They're not what I'd call easy to play when you're sight reading."
"Mm, but I have a very good teacher." Topaz replied.
"You know, the press always say how close you guys seem to be, and there are always stories that it's just for the cameras, and all that." Casey remarked, making herself comfortable on the sofa. "But I dunno, you really are that close, aren't you? You really are like sisters."
"Totally." Sylva nodded. "Which is funny, because none of us knew each other when this whole deal began. We signed Topaz onto the label in Canada and all we knew then was that she could sing and her name, pretty much. It could have gone so horribly wrong. I don't say we always agree..." She met Nancy's gaze at this, "But we do get along and have a blast hanging out. I reckon it's important we do. If you're gonna live and work with people, you gotta be able to hang out with them and have a blast, too."
"Amen to that." Latisha nodded her head. "It's kinda like that in college dorms, you know, with everyone living so close together?" She dimpled. "My college room-mate from my freshman year was a total nutcase...but then, she was a clever nutcase, because she's off to Yale to read law. We got along pretty good in the end but she wouldn't have been someone I would have automatically picked up on as a potential friend. It just happened because we were flung so closely together."
"Sums us up pretty well." Nancy admitted. "We're all really different people inside and out." She shrugged. "Maybe it helps. I dunno." She indicated Copper. "She's the nice one. Topaz is the down to earth, level headed one. Syl is the mad socialite and I'm the songwriter who likes notes better than people if I get to choose these things."
"Writing music is very cool." Casey nodded. "I write too, you know." She dimpled. "I won a state songwriting competition back in high school and I used to co-write music with all of my bands around these parts. I love watching melodies go together."
"Neat." Sylva grinned. "You should see Nancy's studio." She sent her bandmate a wry smile. "That's what she calls it - it's an old club on second, actually, but it has some amazing stuff. Instruments and stuff - the works."
"I write mostly here or at the music company now." Nancy admitted. "But I do like my studio. It's a nice safe retreat, all in all."
"Sometimes life must get very hectic, when you're always in the press." Bryony decided. "That's the part of this I'm unsure about. You lay yourself bare to what other people perceive and it doesn't have to be the truth."
"I'll say." Topaz sighed. "I'm experiencing it now, to be honest. I mean a lot of people are really great and supportive and I love them to death, but I wish Cool Trash wouldn't keep pounding out this story about me and Luca Ranieri. It's not even remotely true. He's a nice guy and all, but..." She gestured. "No spark."
"Well, if that baby's Luca's, he must be a miracle worker, because he wasn't even in the same room when it happened." Sylva grinned. Topaz rolled her eyes.
"Too true." She agreed. "But no more about me. This isn't to do with me, it's about you guys."
She got to her feet. "I'm gonna go put some coffee on - I could use a caffeine hit. Anyone else thirsty?"
"Sure, that'd be great." Bryony smiled at her. "Thank you."
"No problem." Topaz grinned. "Anyone else?"
Once Topaz was gone, Casey frowned, glancing towards the kitchen door, and then lowering her voice.
"Does Topaz know who the father is?" She murmured. "I mean, I admit, I read the press, I thought it was Luca Ranieri. Isn't it?"
"Of course she knows who the father is!" Despite her earlier friendliness towards the blond girl, Sylva's loyalty to her friend protested at this. "She's not some slut you know, who goes around sleeping with seven thousand guys then has to play guess the Dad! She knows and we know and they'd been together a while when it happened, so you can forget anything the tabloids say. It's all nonsense anyway and as for Luca Ranieri? You can take it from me that he isn't!"
"Syl, cool it. I don't think Casey meant to offend." Copper put a hand on the other girl's arm. "The press has been misleading, you know that. I think she was just trying to establish that Cool Trash really had been making stuff up."
"They always do." Sylva muttered. "Cool Trash and KBST. They both need to be burnt to the ground."
"Syl!" Nancy glared at her, for the three guests were eying the synth player with a mix of fascination and bewilderment. Sylva blushed.
"I'm sorry." She said sheepishly. "Sometimes the media just get to you."
"Me too." Casey acknowledged. "Copper's right, I didn't mean to insinuate bad stuff about Topaz. I've never been the most tactful girl on the planet." She looked rueful. "My Dad always says I need my lip buttoning permanently in public places."
"Well, no harm done and no reason to mention it to Topaz." Copper, ever the peace-maker put in, casting Casey a smile. "And here's coffee. Thanks, Topaz."
"You're more than welcome." Topaz dimpled, setting the tray down on the table. "Help yourselves!"
Chapter One: Conference
Chapter Two: An Unexpected Houseguest
Chapter Three: The Wannabes
Chapter Four: Sadie Confides
Sadie's Diary: September 6th, 2013
Chapter Five: A Spy
Chapter Six: Inspiration
Sadie's Diary: September 7th, 2013
Chapter Seven: Cynthia Lends A Hand
Sadie's Diary: September 8th, 2013
Chapter Eight: Into The Lion's Den
Sadie's Diary: September 9th, 2013
Chapter Nine: Latisha Admits
Chapter Ten: Dinner At The Starlight
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out
Chapter Twelve: The Newest Jewel
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!